Trump administration’s decision to withdraw itself from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action followed by its announcement to re-impose sanctions is viewed as one of the most disruptive geopolitical events of recent times. This has thrown down the gauntlet to India to recalibrate its ties with both the US and Iran. However, the upcoming high-level 2+2 dialogue certainly holds the key to this challenge.
Turkey & Iran
Rumbles of discontent, erupting into public protests, are nothing new in Iran. They predate the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which swept the Shah from the throne and Ayatollah Khomeini into power. Today, among the slogans being chanted in the mass demonstrations bursting out all over Iran and threatening the very stability of the regime, are: “Reza Shah, God bless your soul.” In short, the regime of the ayatollahs has long outlived its honeymoon period.
With the US pullout from the nuclear deal, Iran will soon face renewed economic sanctions, compounding a crisis that has seen its currency go into free-fall. On top of that, the Trump administration has signalled its readiness for political and perhaps even military confrontation with the Islamic Republic. These are very real pressures, but I would argue that they don’t threaten the ruling mullahs nearly as much as a growing domestic development: the prospect of unveiled Iranian women.
That the current Iranian regime poses a problem for the free world is a fact of life. It even poses a problem for Russia, its de facto ally in the Syrian conflict. But the Iranian dilemma comes into even sharper focus following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the escalation of long-standing tensions between Iran and Israel into open military skirmishes.
An emergency, the Oxford English dictionary informs us, is “a sudden state of danger requiring immediate action”. Turkish citizens have been living in a state of emergency for a year and a half, and on 8 January 2018 deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, announced that the government intended to extend it. This represents the sixth such extension, and Turks might be excused for starting to forget what “normal” life feels like.
Iran’s “theocratic regime”, which has maintained power domestically via brutal oppression for over four decades, continues its expansionist policies across the Middle East, paying no heed to the bloody results of its subversive policies.
ISTANBUL — With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans for greater powers firmly on track, Turkey’s government has set about shaping the country’s future outside the halls of parliament. Last month, as parliamentarians brawled over — and finally voted for — constitutional changes designed to establish Erdoğan’s long-awaited presidential system, the ministry of education published a draft curriculum for the new school year.
The month-long Qatar crisis, precipitated by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, with their long list of sovereignty-violating demands tantamount to sheer bullying, is in fact a crisis of opportunity for Iran that will enhance Iran’s regional influence as this crisis drags on. This is, first and foremost, an inter-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) crisis that spells long-term doom for GCC unity, which has been for decades a stable feature of GCC-Iran relations.
The 20th of May 2017 was a red letter day for Middle East politics. Not only was Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, re-elected by a substantial majority to a second term of office, but it was the day that US President Trump, on the opening leg of his first foreign tour, landed in Saudi Arabia to a right royal reception and, within hours, was signing a multi-billion dollar deal with his hosts.
An Iranian warning that it may attack militant bases in the troubled province of Balochistan threatens to bring Pakistan’s house of cards crashing down.